Florida Orders Schools To Reopen For In-Person Instruction In Spite Of Climbing COVID-19 Infections

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (L) listens as Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks during a press conference at Bayview Elementary School where they announced a pla... FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 07: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (L) listens as Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks during a press conference at Bayview Elementary School where they announced a plan to raise the minimum starting salary for teachers on October 07, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Governor’s proposed 2020 budget recommendation will include a pay raise for more than 101,000 teachers in Florida by raising the minimum salary to $47,500. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 7, 2020 8:09 a.m.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran (R) issued an executive order on Monday requiring all schools in the state to reopen for in-person instruction in the upcoming academic year, even as coronavirus cases in the state climb unabated.

The order states that “school districts and charter school governing boards must provide the full array of services that are required by law so that families who wish to educate their children in a brick and mortar school full time have the opportunity to do so.”

Barring advice or orders from the Florida Department of Health and local health departments, Corcoran’s order requires schools to offer full-time instruction “at least” five days a week for children of families who seek full-time in-person instruction even as many districts, including the Miami-Dade school system put forward alternative options for schooling, including models that would blend online and in-person learning. 

The county’s Superintendent Alberto Carvalho praised the order in a tweet on Monday calling it “fair and balanced.”  

President Trump made calls on Twitter to reopen schools in the fall, accusing
“Corrupt Joe Biden and the Democrats” on Monday of not wanting schools to reconvene for in-person instruction for “political reasons, not for health reasons,” that would somehow help Democrats gain the upper hand in upcoming elections. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in keeping with the president’s messaging  also tweeted that American education must be “fully open and fully operational this fall” – but failed to offer any kind of organized strategy for how to do so safely, leaving state and local officials once again to fend for themselves and make calls of their own. 

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